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Some guidance to help you pass Alamy Quality Control

Permalink10 December 2008 at 14:55 by Patrick Ashby - QC team manager
Posted under Advice and tips

Thumbs up - Image ANPGHR.jpg ©  Handypix
© Handypix
We’ve put together a few general hints and tips as a result of the most frequent reasons for Quality Control (QC) failure. This is to help you get the best results possible from your equipment and to ensure that we make it as easy as possible for you to pass QC time and time again.

  • Compact cameras do not achieve as good results as DSLRs

While some Compact/Bridge cameras are capable of producing images that are acceptable to Alamy, these images need to be shot using specific settings and the files need to be processed very carefully. Just because a compact camera may have the same pixel count as a DSLR doesn’t mean it’s going to produce the same quality images! The optics used in compact cameras are of a lower quality than DSLRs, and also the sensors are much smaller. This can lead to pictures displaying fringing (chromatic aberration) and high levels of noise even if used at relatively low ISOs.

  • Read the manual

It is important that you have read and understood your camera manual. Ensuring you have read your manual will help you have a better understanding of your equipment and achieve the best results possible.

  • Don’t use a flatbed scanner to scan 35mm film

Flatbed scanners do not produce results that are acceptable to Alamy. While many scanners claim they offer the necessary resolution and are capable of producing file sizes appropriate to Alamy, the results that they achieve are normally very soft and lacking in definition. If you want to submit 35mm film scans to Alamy you need to ensure that you use a dedicated negative scanner.

  • If you’re shooting in JPEG make sure that (ALL) in camera sharpening is turned off

The default JPEG settings for most cameras apply a certain amount of image sharpening. To achieve the best results we recommend disabling all in camera sharpening, because when the image is upsized to our file size requirements it can introduce unsightly artifacts and degrade image quality.

  • Use your camera at as low an ISO as the conditions permit

While the amount of noise that newer breed digital cameras display at high ISO is much lower than it ever was previously, it is still important to shoot at as low an ISO as possible. This helps to retain fine image detail and the effects of intrusive coloured noise.

  • Use a faster shutter speed value than the focal length you are shooting at

Make sure you’re shooting at a faster shutter speed value than the focal length you are using, this helps to avoid camera shake. While many lenses employ the use of image stabilisation this still isn’t foolproof, the best way to ensure a sharp image is to shoot at a faster shutter speed than the focal length. Also, remember to turn off your image stabalisation feature when using a tripod as it can actually result in a lack of sharpness!

  • Check your images at 100% after you have up-sized them for submission to Alamy

Checking your images at 100% after you have interpolated helps you to see any interpolation artifacts or dust and blemishes that you were not able to see before upsizing them.

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